Question of Palestine home
1 May 1947
SEVENTY-FIRST PLENARY MEETING
Held in the General Assembly Hall at Flushing
Meadow, New York, on Thursday, 1 May 1947,
at 3 p.m.
Mr. O. ARANHA (Brazil).
11. Continuation of the discussion of the report of the General Committee on the provisional agenda and the supplementary list (document A/298)
RESIDENT: The seventy-first plenary meeting of the General Assembly is called to order.
We will now turn to the second part of the report of the General Committee which deals with the supplementary list. The report reads as follows:
"The General Committee, after due consideration of the supplementary list (document
) at its twenty-ninth, thirtieth and thirty-first meetings, decided not to recommend the inclusion of the item entitled `The termination of the mandate over Palestine and the declaration of its independence' submitted by the Governments of Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
"One member voted for the recommendation to include the item on the agenda, eight members voted against and five abstained."
You will notice that the General Committee, on a proposal to recommend the inclusion of this item in the agenda of the General Assembly, voted as follows: one member voted affirmatively, eight members voted negatively, and five members abstained. In cases of this character, where the General Committee votes against the inclusion of an item in the agenda of the General Assembly, it nevertheless has an obligation to make a report to the General Assembly with regard to its decision not to recommend the inclusion of the item.
However, our procedure during the plenary meeting of this Assembly must be as follows: under rule 18, additional items submitted to the Secretary-General after the stipulation of the provisional agenda shall be placed on a supplementary list which shall be communicated to the Members of the United Nations as soon as possible. Furthermore, according to rule 17, additional items require a two-thirds majority of the Members present and voting before they can be included in the agenda of the General Assembly.
Therefore, I put the following proposal to this body: Do you favour the inclusion of the item on the supplementary list entitled "The termination of the mandate over Palestine and the declaration of its independence" in the agenda of the General Assembly.
The matter is now open for discussion.
DE LAVALLE (Peru) (
translated from Spanish
): The delegation of Peru desires to state its attitude towards the second item in the report of the General Committee submitted for consideration by the Assembly.
Peru shares with the nations represented at this Assembly the serious international responsibility signified by the intervention of the United Nations in the Palestine controversy, and, in this debate, is fortunate to have no interests or commitments likely to affect its impartiality and weaken the firmness of its resolve to contribute to the achievement of a proper and just solution which shall secure Palestine's future peace and enable her inhabitants to live together in harmony and prosperity in a land which is at once the seat of ancient civilizations and the fountainhead of sacred inspiration.
Peru, by principle, sentiment and tradition, is in favour of independence and respect for the free self-determination of peoples, but she considers that the great difficulties of the Palestine problem, which has so often been brought up and which is still without any satisfactory solution, impose on the United Nations the inescapable duty of making a most careful and thorough study of this problem. The various solutions of the problem which have been proposed and widely disputed demonstrate the necessity that they be re-examined and considered in the light of facts and realities and of the interests and future of the peoples concerned in the problem's solution, peoples whose aspirations and desires deserve our profound sympathy.
Peru agreed to take part in this special session of this Assembly, which was convened for a concrete and specific purpose, and she does not consider it desirable to hasten debate on any substantive solution of the question before the committee to be appointed has made the necessary preliminary studies. An immediate debate on any specific solution would have the drawback of disturbing the quiet and impartial investigation which we desire to undertake as a guarantee of a proper solution. There is a contradiction between the idea that it is necessary to set up a committee with the maximum guarantee of impartiality for the purpose of preparing a report for submission to the regular General Assembly, and the holding at this special session of a full-dress debate on any concrete solution of a problem which we have to study and know as it really is, and in all its essential and incidental aspects, as a guarantee of the correctness and authority of the solution which will have to be adopted and recommended by the United Nations in due course.
On these grounds the delegation of Peru defines its attitude as follows: It desires that the agenda of this session of the Assembly be restricted, in accordance with the purpose for which it was summoned, to the appointment of a special committee, and that the Assembly give the committee the necessary powers to undertake a complete and thorough investigation of the problem, whilst affording the parties concerned the most ample opportunities of setting forth their rights and interests.
The PRESIDENT: I confess that I do not understand Spanish. (
) If I did, I would have asked, as I have already asked previously, that the representative of Peru limit his speech to the subject of item 2 of the report of the General Committee.
Mr. ANTAKI (Syria): I wish to say a few words about the refusal by the General Committee of the General Assembly to admit the additional item proposed by the Syrian Government and communicated to all States Members on the supplementary list in conformity with rule 18 of the provisional rules of procedure.
Before discussing the matter, however, may I express my appreciation for the manner in which the debates have been carried on for several meetings, the result of the ability and patience of the distinguished President of the General Assembly, and the great interest, the keen interest shown by all members of the General Committee regarding the question presented to them.
But I disagree totally with the conception of the majority of the members of the General Committee on the rules of procedure which we have to obey.
If the interpretation embodied in the report is to be taken as a precedent for future special sessions, I am afraid it will simply mean that grave consequences will result, namely that the submission of any Member's proposal for the insertion of an additional item will depend not on a decision of the majority of the Members of the General Assembly, but on the simple majority of a fourteen member committee known as the General Committee, unless an appeal is made to the General Assembly itself; and everyone knows it is most unpleasant, as much to the requesting Member as it is to the other Members as a body, to hear interminable debates on procedural matters, when much less effort and time could be spent in discussing the substance of the matter.
Mr. President, may I first of all invoke your own authoritative conception of the task of the General Committee. You stated it very clearly from the very first meeting; in reply to the reference by the representative of India to a recent debate in the British House of Lords, you stated as follows: "I again call the attention of the members of this Committee to the duties of our General Committee. We only have procedural attributions, and this Committee must keep its own and must not invoke the attributions and functions of the other committees or of the Assembly."
I agree entirely, Mr. President, with this and with other statements which you so wisely made in the course of the first meeting of the General Committee. But I observe that despite these statements, the decision arrived at by the majority was not in conformity with the attributions specified in rule 33 of our provisional rules of procedure.
The provisions concerning this matter are laid down in rules 17 and 18 and rule 33 of the provisional rules of procedure. The first two rules (17 and 18), specify the conditions for the inclusion of additional items in the agenda of a special session, and the last one (rule 33) determines the General Committee's attributions, including those regarding the agenda.
Rule 33 states that the General Committee shall consider applications for the inclusion of additional items in the agenda and shall report thereon to the General Assembly. This rule 33 ends with these words: "It shall not, however, decide any political question." All this is very clear in itself. The General Committee can, therefore, consider applications for the inclusion of additional items only under rules 17 and 18. This means that if, in the course of a special session, a matter which has not obtained the two-thirds majority required by rule 17 is again brought before the General Committee, this Committee could refuse to consider such applications under rule 17.
It also means that the General Committee should refuse, under rule 18, to include any additional item presented later than the fifth day preceding the opening of the special session.
All that is a matter of procedure, and the General Committee is concerned with all that, but only that. The General Committee cannot go any further. It cannot in any manner decide upon the insertion or non-insertion of the additional item on other considerations because all such considerations would necessarily be political, and we know that the political domain is forbidden to the General Committee.
I shall now try to recapitulate the reasons developed by those Members who have opposed our additional item.
Our colleagues will certainly admit that no objection of a purely procedural character has been or could have been raised, because our request was presented to the Secretary-General on 22 April, which was well before 28 April, at which time the special session was summoned. All other considerations invoked by the Members voting against our item are not procedural.
They are as follows: 1. absence of Jewish organizations authorized to appear before the Assembly; 2. lack of sufficient information; 3. eventual repercussions on the present state of affairs in Palestine.
I am going to review these considerations very rapidly.
1. Absence of Jewish organizations authorized to appear. First of all, I wish to answer our Polish colleague who felt that the Arab cause should be heard but who abstained from voting for the item because, he said, it could not be placed on the agenda before the solution of the question relating to the hearing of the Jewish organizations. This is not sufficient reason to refuse the insertion of the additional item. The Syrian delegation has asked for this insertion as a Member of the United Nations. It is only after the item has been inserted that all other questions may be raised and receive adequate solution. Suffice it to remind our Polish colleague now that the General Assembly is an assembly of nations organized in States and nothing else. His argument is not pertinent.
2. The second reason given is the lack of sufficient information on the part of the Members composing the General Assembly. Some of the Members have stated their partial or total lack of knowledge of this simple problem, terribly complicated by Zionist propaganda all over the world.
This reason might be a good one if those Members had been urged to cast a vote at once on this vital issue. But no such vote was requested. The vote was only on the inclusion of the item in the agenda, precisely in order to give them the necessary information. After hearing the discussion--but only then--they could, of course, say that they were still insufficiently informed and needed more time to consider the matter or to collect further information or to consult with their respective Governments.
However, a plain refusal to hear anything about the matter, right from the beginning, is a refusal to hear a matter which is disturbing peace in Palestine and which is having the worst consequences in regard to the social, political and economic life not only of Palestine, but also of all the States of the Arab world and of the Middle East.
What is still more difficult to understand is that the same Members seemed, at the same time, to be urging an immediate vote on the United Kingdom's proposal relating to the appointment of a special committee on Palestine. This means that, without being willing to hear more about the substance of the question, which seems obscure to them, they are ready to instruct a special committee and to define its terms of reference. But how could that be done before the matter has been studied and those Members who know more about it have been given an opportunity to submit their knowledge to the scrutiny and consideration of their colleagues?
3. The third reason given by some of the Members related to the repercussions on the present state of affairs in Palestine. Members who raised this argument of untimeliness expressed the apprehension that the additional item of the Arab States might have grave repercussions in Palestine.
First, such an argument should not be developed or considered by the General Committee, because it is a purely political one, and rule 33 does not allow any decision on political questions. This reason having been raised before the General Committee, the logical consequence should have been to insert the item in the agenda, and the General Assembly would then have referred the whole matter to the Political and Security Committee for report and consideration.
Secondly, this argument of untimeliness is a most dangerous one. Far from serving the cause of peace and tranquillity in Palestine, it may be so interpreted as to give a wrong idea to the terrorists about the profitableness of their enterprise.
Of course, the fear of repercussions that has been expressed is not a fear that the Arabs will revolt. The Arabs of Palestine are asked to exercise patience. They have done so, although at the same time a real invasion is taking place, an invasion against the rights of the people of Palestine, and without any consideration for law and order. The Arabs have satisfied themselves with an appeal to the United Nations. It is not because their case is rightly considered at this international forum in conformity with the principles of the Charter that they may revolt.
Those whose feelings may be different are the terrorists. It is feared that these persons in Palestine and abroad may dislike to hear a full exposition of the Arab case, which asks an elementary justice and which has for so long been kept out of the foreign press and radio.
The most dangerous point in this connexion is that a doubt may be created in the hearts of Arabs all over the world, and also in the minds of many other peoples, about the very application of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. A representative...
RESIDENT: I want to interrupt the speaker to ask him to talk about
item 2, which is now under consideration. I do not know what the speaker has said about that matter up to this point.
NTAKI (Syria): Mr. President, I regret that I disagree totally with what you are saying. With due respect for the Chair, I state that I am refuting the arguments that have been developed for not admitting our item to the agenda. It is my right--and I say that it is my full right--to defend the item and to attack any argument that has been developed against it.
If you do not accept the idea that I may defend the proposal to place the item on the agenda, and to refute what has been said against it, I wonder what I am permitted to say. I am not speaking of the Palestinian question; I am not developing any of the arguments in support of our case. I am only repudiating those arguments which have been developed and showing that they do not fall within the attributions of the General Committee. I am explaining why those arguments are wrong; I am explaining why they are not pertinent. If that is not permitted, what else can I say:
The PRESIDENT: The reply given to the Chair by the speaker is a confession of how right the Chair is. There will be an opportunity to present all these arguments, all this discussion, all this explanation, after the General Assembly receives its agenda and we have a free and open discussion of the whole matter. But this anticipation of the discussion does not help the cause, it does not help the General Assembly, or anything else, and lessens the significance of the United Nations gathering in the eyes of the world.
NTAKI (Syria): I believe rules of procedure are the very best way of protecting the rights of individuals and peoples in public gatherings, in international meetings, in lawcourts and everywhere. As a lawyer and as a parliamentarian I abide by rules of procedure. The Assembly will notice that since I have stepped on to this rostrum I have not departed from this point of view.
We have presented the additional item according to rule 18 of the provisional rules of procedure. This additional item was referred to the General Committee. The General Committee, according to rule 33 of the provisional rules of procedure, had to consider the matter and decide whether or not to recommend putting this item on the agenda.
Our point of view, which I have the honour to develop, is that the General Committee does not have to enter into political considerations, that the last sentence in rule 33 prevents the General Committee from so doing. The General Committee had long debates, of which records have been kept. In these records it will be found that members of the General Committee presented arguments rejecting the additional item. I have tried to analyse and to refute these arguments. If I do not analyse these arguments and do not refute them, how can I expect the General Assembly to make its decision on this matter:
By presenting the opinion of the majority of the Members and then trying to refute it, I did not depart from that point. Of course, in refuting the arguments I necessarily had to show on what they were based and how they were wrong. If this also is not to be done, it means, very plainly, that a committee of fourteen members, on which Syria is not sitting, can decide by a majority vote to reject our additional item.
It means, furthermore, we cannot appeal to the General Assembly because if I do not develop our arguments, how can the General Assembly, by a two-thirds vote, decide on this point? I know it is not easy to obtain a two-thirds majority. The more difficult it is, the more should I be allowed to explain my point of view. I do not have any illusions: the General Assembly is not going to vote unanimously in favour of our item. We expect to get a majority, and I shall get at least one more vote, perhaps, by saying what I have to say. Therefore, may I be allowed to carry on with my explanation, which is about to reach its end:
A representative said that what is even more important than being fair is doing what is thought to be fair by world public opinion. Allow me to express my fear, and the fear of our delegation, for the principles laid down in the Charter. We know public opinion might be misled by tendentious propaganda. We know public opinion might be ill informed. It is our duty to give the proper information and we do not know of a better place from which to do that than from this rostrum of the General Assembly.
It is our duty, also, to abide by the principles of law and justice and we do not know of a better place from which to express those principles than from this rostrum. When we feel a cause is just, we have to summon up all our courage in order to proclaim it, although public opinion may have been misled by false propaganda. By doing so we give sincerity to the Charter. We know that one of its fundamental principles is: "to maintain international peace and security, and to that end ... to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace".
This is our conception of the Charter. It is because of our fidelity to its purposes and principles that we ask that the question of Palestine be put on the agenda of the present session. We shall, in due course, explain how and to what extent the cause of Palestine is a just one and why it deserves your full support.
RESIDENT: Before I call on the next speaker, I want to say that there is nothing more disagreeable to the Chair than to interrupt the speaker. But you realize that in having this discussion on the report of the General Committee it is impossible for the Chair to allow all the discussion which took place in that Committee. We are not now considering arguments, developments or discussions which took place in other committees, but simply the report to the Assembly.
I was very sorry to interrupt the representative of Syria, but that is my duty, and because I do not want to be forced to do so again, I will make a statement in the form of an appeal to all speakers who come to the rostrum, declaring the position of the Chair in this matter. In the performance of my duties as President, I have occasionally felt it necessary to remind the Assembly of the procedural nature of the items we are now discussing. I should like to take this occasion to emphasize the fact that discussion of the report of the General Committee on the supplementary list should be limited to the consideration of the procedural aspects of establishing an approved agenda for this special session.
The functions of the General Committee in the consideration of requests for the inclusion of additional items in the agenda are to assist the Assembly and the President in determining whether or not such requests should be granted. The General Committee, after a full and free discussion of the appropriateness of including the Arab item on the agenda of this special session, decided, by a vote of eight to one, to recommend that the Assembly should not include this item in its agenda. A discussion of the merits and the substance of declaring the independence of Palestine cannot take place in a plenary meeting unless the plenary meeting has adopted the agenda.
I earnestly appeal to the Members of the General Assembly to limit their remarks to a consideration of the appropriateness of including the Arab item in the agenda of this special session, and to refrain from the substantive discussion of the merits of the proposal contained in the Arab item.
ASSAN Pasha (Egypt): I have been listening with interest to your remarks concerning rule 33 and I quite agree with the Chair about the interpretation of the rule. However, I believe that since the Arab States have advocated this additional item on the supplementary agenda, they are coming here as though to appeal against a decision which has been taken in the consideration of this item. Since we have advocated the adoption of this item, I beg your forbearance. For if fourteen of you--or I might say, just eight States, since the Arab States, I think, constitute five--if eight or ten of you have heard our thesis, the other forty-two Members have not heard it, naturally, unless of course--and I know that you are all very diligent--you have read all the verbatim reports and know them by heart. However, some of my colleagues might have been too busy to read all that has been going on in the last two days, during which we have had really heated debates.
I shall take just a few minutes to explain why my government has considered the insertion of this item and its relationship with the first item. I will say a very few simple words pertinent to the item under consideration.
Those of you who were present at yesterday's meeting of the General Committee were no doubt aware both of the heat of the debate and the heat of the room too. That is why, yesterday, the Egyptian delegation felt called upon not to press for a vote. However, the President ruled otherwise, according to his judgment, and within the right of the Chair. May I remind you, however, that the representatives who voted against the admission of this item were, in point of fact, only eight out of fourteen.
This morning the representative of the United Kingdom said--I think I have his own
words, and that is why I brought with me all the verbatim reports for the last two days--the following:
"I do wish to draw the attention of the Assembly to the fact that, in my submission at least, the Assembly could not possibly admit both these items to its agenda, because that really would make nonsense."
In my judgment, if I may differ with a colleague--and I think this is feasible-- exactly the opposite ruling should prevail. I feel that the inclusion of the second item in the agenda would, in fact, provide a guide-post to the proper and just solution, since the main objective of the original Palestine mandate is ultimate independence, stated over a quarter of a century ago--and do not forget that.
Of course, it was not the intention of my Government, when we inserted our item, to fight the battle of the independence of Palestine on the floor of this Assembly now. That would be a wrong interpretation and that is not our intention. Our purpose was to draw attention to this objective, and I believe that all of you, as peace-loving and independence-loving countries, would agree with me in supporting the attainment of it.
I will not discuss the relationship of this item to the first item at length because, by reference to the verbatim reports of the General Committee, you will find the chief opponents of the Arab proposals themselves outspoken on this same point. Thus, the United States representative, in citing his country's opposition to the Arab plan says:
"The United States, in declining to give its consent and vote to the Arab resolution, is not by any means precluding the independence of Palestine as an ultimate issue for the solution of this problem. The terms of all class A mandates, whether expressly included in the special treaties setting up the mandate, or by reference to the Covenant of the League of Nations, envisaged ultimate independence for all class A mandates. None of us are in disagreement on that point."
Later, on another occasion, the United Kingdom representative said exactly the same thing. Their contention, then, surely establishes the close relationship between items 1 and 2. I could read to you a passage of the declaration of the United Kingdom representative this morning, to the contrary. But when he himself declares that this is one of the alternatives of the mission of the committee which is to be set up, I cannot really make out how it could not be included as the first item. I say that the interdependence, the connexion of these two items are really established in an irrefutable manner.
In brief, we are all anxious to achieve the broad humanitarian aims embraced in a final settlement of the thorny problem of Palestine. I appeal to the representatives who were not present at yesterday's meeting, to accept, in the same general spirit in which it is tendered, our sponsorship of item 2. I pray that they consider the matter seriously, because it is really a serious matter.
AMALI (Iraq): I will try to abide by the request of the President and be as brief as I can. This morning I made only introductory remarks. Now, I will give you a résumé of the substance, as far as it touches upon the main item of procedure.
I should like, however, to remind the President that it is not easy to draw a sharp line between procedure and substance. Sometimes they overlap and, of course, the President, being a past master in the Chair, can always check us and bring us back, whenever we cross the line. However, it is not so easy to restrict ourselves, and we sometimes trespass, so I beg the President to forgive me, before I start. I promise that I will do my best not to exceed the limit--very much.
I regret very much, indeed, that our proposal has been turned down in the General Committee. I really see no sound reason for the refusal to accept it. The two main reasons given are very simple. The first reason given is the lack of information--the Members want information; the second reason given is that the need for peace in Palestine and the situation there demand that we do not adopt the resolution of Iraq and the other Arab States.
You will permit me to say a few words about each of the reasons given. Before doing so, I should like to assure you that my Government, before making this proposal, had all the situations in mind and had no motive behind the proposal except the implementation of the United Nations Charter, and the fact that we are anxious to have peace and stability prevail in the Arab world today.
The lack of information is not a sound reason for the refusal of our proposal. Information is abundant, and the essence of the information is available to you all. The essence of the information consists of three basic documents, two of which have legal standing as constitutions, namely, the Covenant of the League of Nations and the United Nations Charter. The third item of information needed exists in the terms of the mandate of Palestine. These three things are available to us all. We can take them home tonight and see the inconsistencies.
We will find that the mandate of Palestine is certainly contradictory in spirit and letter to Article 22, paragraph 4, of the Covenant of the League of Nations. For the benefit of those who were not present at the meeting of the General Committee, I shall read that paragraph:
"Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the mandatory."
That is a paragraph which appears in Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. Then, if you read the terms of the mandate, you will find that when a people imposes its authority on another people, this Article must be considered, and the wishes of the inhabitants is a principal consideration. That is the essence of the entire problem, and we do not need a great deal of information to understand that.
As I have previously stated, if we stick to the principles of the Covenant of the League of Nations, and the principles of the United Nations Charter, we will find that the issue before us does not need a committee of inquiry.
The second reason given--and this was emphasized by the representative of the United States--is the state of peace in Palestine. I am afraid, however, that this reason deserves some recognition because of the power of terrorism there.
I should like to appeal to the representatives here not to allow right and our sound judgment to be influenced by lawlessness. I submit, terrorism should not deter us from making an immediate decision along righteous lines.
Should our proposal be accepted in principle, and I think it should be since it is a matter of principle, then the United Nations could very well appoint a committee for the purpose of studying how to apply such a proposal. In other words, the two suggestions, that of the United Kingdom and of the Arab States, could very well be linked together.
I cannot see how the United Nations can deny the admission of the principle for which the United Nations was conceived, namely, the recognition of the rights of peoples, in this case the rights of the people of Palestine to independence and the termination of the mandate. It certainly would not sound very well to the outside world if we were to go on record as saying that the United Nations did not accept the principle of independence for a people.
Some people have been in chains for fifty years. They should not be kept in chains for one hour more. As a matter of fact, it is the duty of the United Nations to see to it that freedom prevails and that subjugation ends.
I can understand accepting the principle which we have offered and proposed, or, alternatively, substituting another proposal which states the United Nations shall appoint a committee to study how to implement this proposal. That is the logical procedure and that is the procedure which is consistent with the spirit and letter of the United Nations Charter.
Furthermore, I appeal to all the Members of the United Nations to remember the proverb that you should do unto others as you would have others do unto you. I know that everyone here would like to see his independence preserved. None of you will accept an alien element being imposed by force and without consent.
That is my only appeal. If there is a reasonableness in my appeal, I hope you will see to it that our proposal with regard to independence is accepted and that you will implement this proposal with a committee formed by the United Nations for the purpose of studying the problem with regard to the independence of Palestine.
ASTRO (El Salvador): I shall speak as briefly as possible concerning the second point of the report of the General Committee on the Palestine problem. I want to define the position of the delegation of El Salvador concerning this second point.
At the start, I should like to explain a point that will shed some light on the position in which many of the representatives to the General Assembly at this special session have been placed. This special session was convened at the request of the Government of the United Kingdom. Naturally, the proposal of the United Kingdom was circulated among all the Members of the United Nations. The delegations that came here were empowered to deal with that particular proposition. The Members were in a better position to deal with this question than with any other that was proposed later. For this reason, the proposals made by the representatives of several of the Arab States have been handicapped. The representatives here have not received, in many instances, any instructions from their Governments concerning the proposal of the Arab States. I think it is very important that this should be made clear in order to understand why many representatives have abstained from taking part in the discussion of the Arab proposal.
The representative of El Salvador gave his affirmative vote to the first point of the report of the General Committee, which refers to constituting and instructing a special committee to prepare for the consideration of the question of Palestine at the second regular session of the General Assembly, which will be held next September. In giving his favourable vote to the first point of the report, the representative of El Salvador gave very careful consideration to the fact that the committee to be formed in order to present constructive proposals to the General Assembly at its session in September is to be fully empowered to study and consider all possible solutions of the Palestinian case. In fact, in the meetings of the General Committee, of which the representative of El Salvador was not a member, several of the members made it clear that the committee to be formed to study the Palestinian question and to report to the General Assembly next September would have to consider all possible solutions of the Palestinian problem, including the possible independence of Palestine on termination of the British mandate.
Therefore, we may say that the Arab States, as well as the Jewish community in Palestine, and the Jewish people at large, will have ample opportunity to express their case and their opinions before this committee that is to be formed to study the Palestinian question. We may say, in this connexion, that although the additional item that has been proposed by the Arab States was not adopted for recommendation to the General Assembly by the General Committee, it is in the power of the committee that is going to be formed to study that question fully. That was made clear by the representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States and many others.
As a consequence, we may call the attention of the representatives of the Arab States to the fact that they have lost nothing really, that they have the opportunity to come before the committee and present their arguments and their documents in support of their case. It is only natural that all other solutions of the Palestinian case will likewise be studied by the committee and, therefore, that all other interested parties will have a similar opportunity to present their case to the committee which is to study the Palestinian question in order to report to the General Assembly in September.
It was in this light that the delegation of El Salvador, that is, the representative of El Salvador, because the delegation has just one member, gave his favourable vote to the first point of the report of the General Committee. The representative of El Salvador was impressed by some of the statements that were made in the General Committee, because these statements made it clear that some of the delegations, that naturally have more intense feeling concerning this subject, considered that the present session of the General Assembly was not the proper opportunity for them to enter into a discussion of the fundamental or the real meaning of the problem. I may say they wanted to air their views concerning the question, but each delegation felt, and I remember that the representative of Egypt has just stated this, that it was not its purpose to have the question of the termination of the mandate over Palestine, and the declaration of independence become an accomplished fact as a result of the discussion at this special session.
Therefore, we may say there is a common basis of understanding concerning the impossibility of really bringing to a final conclusion the proposal made by the representatives of the Arab States. I understand, as a result of the deliberations of the General Committee, that the position of some of the representatives of the Arab States was that the United Kingdom proposal should be so amended as to make it clear that the committee, which was to be empowered to study the Palestinian question, should be not only authorized, but directed to study the possibility of terminating the mandate and recommending the declaration of independence of Palestine at the next session of the Assembly, that is to say, in September. If I am incorrect in this assumption, I should like to be corrected.
Consequently, I feel that the appointment of the committee, which was decided upon in the first part of the report, will furnish ample opportunity to all parties concerned to express their views before the committee and to support their views with the necessary documents and, therefore, to bring their case to the full attention of the General Assembly in September through the report and as a result of the discussion of the report of this special committee that is going to be formed.
Having explained this point, I should also like to clarify the attitude of the representative of El Salvador concerning the second point of the report of the General Committee.
Although I recognize that the committee which is going to be formed in order to study the Palestinian question will have full authority to study and to recommend any possible solutions of the Palestinian problem, I do not wish to admit any possibility that the vote of the representative of El Salvador might be in any way misinterpreted. The representative of El Salvador did not receive any instructions concerning the proposal of the representatives of the Arab States. The representative of El Salvador received instructions only concerning the proposal of the United Kingdom. Therefore, when we deal with the second point of the report of the General Committee, the representative of El Salvador will be forced to abstain. In order that his abstention may be clearly stated, he requests the President to decide that a roll-call be taken at the proper time.
ONZÁLEZ FERNÁNDEZ (Colombia): I am going to take only a very few minutes of the Assembly's time in advancing what I hope is a constructive suggestion. In the course of the debate in the General Assembly and in the General Committee, we have heard several declarations which, taken together, might help us to find a way out of this preliminary discussion of the agenda.
the representative of the United Kingdom called the attention of the Assembly to the fact that what was called an additional item on the agenda was not really an additional item, because it referred to the Palestinian question. On the other hand, the representative of Lebanon said at a meeting of the General Committee that the Arab States did not want the Assembly to decide immediately the question of the independence of Palestine. Finally, the representative of Iraq said this afternoon
/ that he was ready to accept the idea of a commission to study the Palestinian question.
In the light of these declarations, I believe that we may find a way to link the two proposals on the agenda, because they both refer to the Palestinian question. I therefore want to suggest to the Assembly that, by the introduction of a phrase, the linking up of the two questions may be effected.
It is quite natural that the special committee is going to study the situation in Palestine with the ultimate end in view of changing the situation in Palestine. That is, the objective of this special session, and the objective of the discussion at the regular session in September will be precisely to study a change in the situation in Palestine--and the committee which is going to be appointed will have to have, as one of its terms of reference, the termination of the mandate and the independence of Palestine.
Therefore, agreeing as I do with Sir Alexander Cadogan that the proposal made by the Arab States is not an additional item because it refers to the Palestinian question, I beg to disagree with his opinion that the two items are entirely opposed.
I believe that the committee which, I hope, will be appointed, is going to study as one of the main aspects of its work the ultimate termination of the mandate and the ultimate independence of Palestine. Some of the Arab representatives have declared that they do not wish the Assembly to make a pronouncement now on the independence of Palestine and the termination of the mandate. One of the Arab representatives accepts the idea of the establishment of a committee. I therefore believe that the two proposals can be linked by the introduction of a single phrase, to this effect: that the committee which is to prepare a report on the question of Palestine will have, as one of its functions, to study the termination of the mandate over Palestine and the declaration of its independence.
Mr. Aranha left the Chair and Mr. Quo Tai-chi replaced him.
ODGSON (Australia): I think one of the difficulties most representatives are confronted with is the ruling of the Chair to break this report into portions. I, for example, if I were speaking on paragraph 1, would find the very greatest difficulty in not speaking about paragraph 2 as to what should be excluded. Now I am confined to paragraph 2, and to argue against that I have to support the adherence to paragraph 1. We find ourselves going backwards and forwards.
What we are discussing now is the report of the General Committee which decided not to recommend inclusion of the item entitled "The termination of the mandate over Palestine and the declaration of its independence." The Committee decided not to recommend. In other words, that was a decision of the highest political import, one of the most important political decisions which has ever been made by any organ of the United Nations. Therefore, I am fully in accord with everything that the representative of Syria and other representatives said, that the Committee exceeds its authority and jurisdiction.
My mind goes back to the Preparatory Commission of December 1945. No issues caused more controversy than the functions and composition of the General Committee. It was agreed they were open to misinterpretation. One thing was fully agreed upon: it should not be a body for the airing of political views or for the making of political decisions.
I refreshed my mind at lunch time about certain statements which were made at that time. Syria and Egypt advocated that "the functions should be purely procedural, excluding any point of substance."
/ The United States emphasized that the functions were merely those of "administrative management."
/ The United Kingdom stated: "If there is any attempt to use it for political purposes, the General Assembly must and would stop it."
/ The remarks of Cuba were very pertinent. When it talked about items for the agenda, it could not divorce substance from procedure. Cuba said: "A Committee such as this would mean that some States would be permanently included and others permanently excluded."
/ The representative of the Soviet Union said: "The General Committee could not make decisions of political importance."
As we see it, the functions and the responsibilities of a General Committee in this case should have been confined to answering two simple questions:
1. Was the application for the inclusion of this item properly submitted in accordance with the rules? The answer is yes.
2. Was this item a proper and fitting subject for the Assembly to consider in connexion with the main purpose for which this special session was called? Without any reservation or equivocation, the answer is yes. Therefore, it should have gone on the provisional agenda. It was then for this Assembly to decide whether it was to be adopted. Then, we could have heard these arguments which we have heard today, and avoided all that duplication because references were made to speeches delivered in the Committee of which we were unaware. Some of us have not had a chance to read the text of these speeches.
Then, if this Assembly decided to eliminate item 2 on a procedural question, it would have been left to the Arab States to submit their views and proposals to the special committee which it is proposed that we create.
As it is, the President gave a ruling this afternoon which, with all due respect, is going to create difficulties for him and for us. He ruled that once we have decided on the agenda, you are at liberty to discuss the whole problem. We suggest that is not so. Assuming--and I think it is an assumption which will probably be realized--item 2 is eliminated, this Assembly will be strictly confined to the consideration of item 1. The Arab States will never have a chance of putting their case. In other words, this Assembly will be strictly confined to the question of the creation of a committee and its terms of reference. On a strict interpretation by the President--and it has been pretty strict so far--a general debate cannot be allowed on the whole of the Palestinian problem.
I come now to paragraph 2. Whether we think it is correct or not, we are confronted with it. The Australian delegation supports that recommendation for these reasons--and our stand has always been very clear and consistent on this point.
The Australian delegation has always adhered to the principle of full and open debate in the Assembly. As I have indicated, we would have preferred this debate on the agenda to have been discussed here rather than in the General Committee.
The second principle is that we have always stood for a full and exhaustive investigation of all the facts, a careful, orderly, and methodical examination. You will recall we advocated that during the discussion of the Iranian case. We took that initiative in the discussion of the Spanish case. We took the initiative in that respect in the discussion of the Greek case, and in the creation of a special commission of investigation to go out to the frontiers. Therefore, we are quite consistent.
We cannot accept the proposition that all the facts are known. I would say the so-called facts on this question are pretty conflicting. If you try to sort out the so-called facts from the deluge of material which our delegation has on this question--and it is still coming in--it is a pretty stupendous problem.
Let us take the very simplest fact. I will take up the statement by the representative of Iraq. He said as a fact this morning
that the mandatory had sold the land of the Arabs without their consent or their knowledge. Well, I was under the impression that the land was always sold with the consent of the Arabs and they always made a jolly good profit out of it. Be that as it may, it is one of those things in which there is a conflict of facts and we are here with an open mind.
For the past twenty-five years, there have been many investigations into Palestine. For example, the Permanent Mandates Commission, in its report, largely relied on the information supplied by the mandatory--the United Kingdom. That report was full of detailed information and, no doubt, quite accurate. However, it was not an international investigation. This is now an international problem and it calls for an international determination of the facts.
Now, the studies of the Permanent Mandates Commission of the United Kingdom through its various White Papers, of the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry, and of those of the various Jewish and Arab organizations will, of course, be most valuable to the committee in formulating its idea. However, that is only a starting point.
The committee will be able to produce up-to-date information right up to the time of the General Assembly in September. Therefore, we think this session should be confined to the object for which my Government accepted the invitation, that is to consider the creation of the special committee and its terms of reference. If we allow the committee to get on with its job, it can conduct a wide and exhaustive inquiry into every phase. Everybody will have a chance to put his point of view and to give his solutions--and we have heard many, many solutions--so that by the September meeting, we can approach the whole problem with an open mind and in accordance with the purpose and principles of the Charter.
CTING PRESIDENT: There are two more speakers on the list. Before I call on the next speaker, I should like to say just a few words in reply to the point raised by the Syrian representative and also touched upon by the Australian representative.
The General Committee was acting fully within its competence under rule 33, when it voted not to recommend inclusion of the item in the agenda of the General Assembly. To recommend or not to recommend, is not a political question. If the General Committee had only the power to vote affirmatively on the recommendations to include an item in the agenda of the General Assembly, then the whole purpose of referring items for the consideration of the General Committee would be lost.
The report before you records, as it should, the vote and decision of the General Committee with regard to a proposal to recommend the inclusion of items in the agenda. The report of the General Committee is now before us, and under rule 17 this body must decide, by a two-thirds majority of the Members present and voting, whether it wishes to include this item.
I want to make it very clear that the General Committee did not decide this question. It decided only not to recommend the inclusion of the item in the agenda of the General Assembly. We are about to take a second step, a step fully within the competence of the General Assembly, that is, to take a decision under rule 17, to determine whether we wish to include the item in the agenda. This decision is to be taken by a two-thirds majority of the Members present and voting. I hope that before the present meeting adjourns, after hearing the next two speakers--and other speakers, if there are any more--that this step will be taken.
RCE (Argentina) (
translated from Spanish
): I should have preferred this second item put forward by five or six countries not to have appeared on the agenda, so that this discussion would have been unnecessary. However, once five or six States in pursuance of their rights have presented the item, we have no alternative but to state our views thereon.
I tentatively suggested a solution which aimed at saving time and rendering it possible for this Assembly, after hearing the views of all concerned, both Jews and Arabs, to take a decision. I had reason to know that more than one representative found my proposal just, adequate and opportune; but it was dropped and I had not even the opportunity of voting in favour of it, and I must have appeared to be voting against the very thing I had proposed. That proposal would perhaps have rendered it possible for Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to withdraw their proposal because the question raised by them is included in the item we have already considered and accepted.
Unhappily, this did not happen. I repeat once again what I said this morning: The Palestine question is a single question and has been presented as such by His Britannic Majesty's Government, which requested that a committee be appointed for the purpose of gathering all the necessary data in order that the regular General Assembly might take a decision in September after the United Kingdom had rendered an account of its mandate; in other words, all that you know of the case as presented by Sir Alexander Cadogan.
I, therefore, consider myself obliged, despite the fact that the Argentine delegation at the present time finds itself in an intermediate position on this question, and hopes to be provided with the facts necessary for judging and seeking a solution satisfactory to the aspirations of everybody and to the rights of the parties concerned, I consider myself obliged, I say, in defence of the provisions of the Charter and of the rights of this Assembly and the interests of the small countries, to state that the Argentine delegation will vote in favour of this second proposal.
The resolution of the General Committee regarding the second item, in spite of the explanation which has been given to us by the Acting President, is contrary to rule 33. Whether you wish it or no, a verdict either way constitutes a political act, and this is expressly prohibited in the latter part of rule 33 of the rules of procedure. It is a political act because, even if it is rejected--as I expect it will be, by many representatives--it will still be interpreted as meaning that this question cannot be discussed in the Committee or in this Assembly, but probably at the next Assembly.
That would not be right, and I believe that the Jewish community would be the first to recognize that there must be the widest debate before a decision is taken. Someone may say that the General Committee would in any case have produced a political decision. No, gentlemen. The General Committee could have said, if it had taken the attitude which I consider the right one, that the request of the Arab States was implicitly included in the first place; and that we should urge the Arab States to withdraw their proposal in the absolute certainty that, as the Palestine question is a single question, it will be possible, in dealing with the first and only item, to discuss also the possibility of a solution of this kind when establishing the terms of reference of the committee which is to undertake the investigation. From this viewpoint, I maintain absolutely the same attitude as has been taken here by the representative of Australia.
Therefore, in view of the fact that my proposal of this morning has been ignored, namely, to discuss publicly here, in this chamber, the entire Palestine problem, listening on the one hand to the Jews and on the other hand, not to the Arab States which are part of this Assembly, but to the interested parties among the Arab population of Palestine, I must act with justice, because I do not wish to prejudge the question. I shall, therefore, vote in favour of item 2.
I reserve, of course, the right to insist that after a full debate, whether in this Assembly or in the First Committee, we should decide, after hearing the Arabs and the Jews, on what procedure is the most appropriate to enable the next Assembly in September to arrive at a final decision in the Palestine question.
Mr. Aranha resumed the Presidential chair.
Mr. BLANCO (Cuba) (
translated from Spanish
): The delegation of Cuba, in accordance with the policy which it has always maintained and as a question of principle, favours the inclusion of all points connected with the Palestine question in the agenda of this special General Assembly.
At the last General Assembly, Cuba urged the inclusion in the agenda of its proposal regarding the summoning of a General Assembly to amend the Charter and to eliminate the veto right. Now, as then, Cuba is defending the right of all Members of the United Nations to have the proposals they submit to the General Assembly thoroughly studied and discussed.
That does not mean to say in any way that we are prejudging the question, or compromising our future attitude as regards the essential point involved in the proposal in question. Furthermore, the delegation of Cuba is in favour of the legitimate representatives of the Jews in Palestine being heard by this Assembly.
At the stage the debate has now reached, the delegation of Cuba would like to support the ideas and proposals of the representatives of El Salvador and of Colombia, and to that end, I should like to propose a compromise formula to the effect that the special committee appointed should consider as one of its objectives the question of termination of the mandate and of Palestine's independence.
RESIDENT: We will proceed to the vote by roll-call, but I call first on the representative of Haiti.
ÉPHIRIN (Haiti) (
translated from French
): I have no intention of prolonging a debate which has already lasted too long, but it seems to me that we are all trying to find a compromise solution which would enable all the parties to reach an agreement.
I should be distressed if the public, which is generally inadequately informed on questions concerning international assemblies, were to be left with the impression that the United Nations is a sort of forum where people speak, rightly or wrongly, often wrongly and sometimes rightly. I should like to make a very brief and, above all, a very clear proposal. I should like to ask the President, who is responsible for directing the procedure for the discussion of the first item already adopted by the Assembly if, in his opinion, this first item (the constitution of a special committee to prepare for the consideration of the Palestine question) implies the possibility of discussing the termination of the Palestine mandate.
I listened with great interest to the Australian representative's statement. He even recalled, for the information of those who were absent at the time--myself among others-- that when rule 33, which is being discussed at present, was adopted a large number of delegations stipulated, so to speak, in the preliminary discussions, that the General Committee should have no political powers.
I hasten to reassure you I have no intention of discussing the interpretation of rule 33 at present. I should simply like to say, in passing, that I think, from a strictly legal point of view, that rule 33 authorizes the General Committee to reject a question proposed for the agenda.
translated from French
): At the present stage, our discussion is concerned only with the second proposal relating to the adoption of the agenda of the Assembly. We must remember that we have reached the point where we must vote. All the representatives must help to hasten the vote, as I have just begged them to do.
ÉPHIRIN (Haiti) (
translated from French
): I bow to your judgment, Mr. President; but I do not think that, by your call to order, you cease to allow me on the floor.
translated from French
): Not at all.
ÉPHIRIN (Haiti) (
translated from French
): I thank you. As I was saying, I would ask the President, since he is in charge of the debate, whether he thinks that the second item on the agenda is included in the first item. I am almost certain that those of my numerous colleagues who support the Arab States, and the representatives of the Arab States themselves would be prepared to withdraw the proposal they submitted, which is the second item on the agenda, if they were sure that they might raise the subject before the Assembly with a view to a debate when the first item on the agenda was being discussed.
That is the question I should like to put to the General Committee with the President's permission.
translated from French
): Hitherto we have done nothing but discuss the independence of Palestine and the termination of the mandate. It has been made quite clear that, after the adoption of the agenda, a free and unrestricted discussion of this problem will take place. That is the definite reply which I can give to the question put by the representative of Haiti.
I would reiterate my request; I repeat that our discussion is concerned with the second item and that the President cannot allow it to extend to any other item.
Mr. ZÉPHIRIN (Haiti) (
translated from French
): I should like to add one word: My intention is to help the Assembly to reach a compromise. Since the President, who directs the procedure, has assured me that the question can be fully discussed later, I should like to ask the Arab States not to insist on a vote on the inclusion of the second item in the agenda, in order to facilitate a solution, and in order not to give the impression that the General Committee's decision is being obstructed.
NTEZAM (Iran) (
translated from French
): I am not coming to this platform to make a speech, but to ask the President what action will be taken on the proposal moved by the Colombian representative and seconded by the Cuban representative. If the President agrees, we could vote on this proposal first, since it amounts to an amendment. We should probably obtain a unanimous vote, for it would be deplorable if, at the very beginning of the Assembly, we were to give the impression of being divided. I think that this amendment might be favourably received by the Arab delegations and by the other delegations as well. If we cannot commit ourselves entirely to the procedure proposed by the Arab States, we might thus at least come nearer to the solution of a very important problem.
I have asked to speak in order to support this proposal, and in this connexion I shall point out that by rejecting the proposal of the Arab delegations, we should run the risk of giving the impression (which is certainly false, but which is in danger of being created) that the General Assembly attaches little importance to Palestine's independence, whereas that constitutes our common ideal as well as that of the Arab and Jewish communities. In order to avoid this misunderstanding, we might vote on the Colombian representative's proposal, and I think we would reach a unanimous decision. For its part, the Iranian delegation warmly supports this proposal.
RESIDENT: The Chair cannot consider any amendment, but only a proposal to substitute for the matter under consideration. That is the rule. The Chair has not received any proposal for this substitution, and until that is done the only way to proceed is to vote on the item recommended by the General Committee.
I will now call for a vote in accordance with that procedure.
NTEZAM (Iran) (
translated from French
): I fully agree with you, Mr. President, that you cannot put a proposal to the vote until you have it before you in writing. You might, if you think fit, suspend the meeting for a few minutes to enable us to confer with the Colombian delegation and draft a proposal which we would submit to you.
The PRESIDENT: The Chair would be willing to accept that suggestion, but I do not know how I would have the authority to do it. If I were to apply that rule, we would never vote: some representative would always ask for a few minutes to write a new proposal, and the Chair would find itself in a very bad situation.
The only procedure that we can now follow is to vote on the question. Furthermore, what is now being attempted by the representatives of Colombia, Cuba and Iran has been discussed for two days and tackled by me without any result.
The objectives sought by this proposal will be taken care of in the future. As soon as our agenda is adopted, all these matters will be discussed, and we can talk further about independence or the termination of the mandate or all this
, as the scholars used to say.
ONZÁLEZ FERNÁNDEZ (Colombia): I want to make clear that I did not put forward any formal proposal. I made a suggestion, with the hope that it might reconcile the different opinions in the Assembly and result in some agreement without having a losing side and a winning side. I did not make a proposal, and therefore I do not think it is proper to speak of "the Colombian proposal". I simply made a suggestion, which found a friendly reception among some other delegations. Of course, I do not have any objection to having this suggestion put in the form of a proposal by them. However, I do not wish to have the record show that a formal proposal of the Colombian delegation was not considered by the General Assembly.
RESIDENT: We have no proposal before us, then, but merely a suggestion. Since we have no proposal before us, the only matter we have to consider is the report of the General Committee.
SAF ALI (India): I have sat through the entire debate today very patiently, listening to the various views expressed. I did not intend to intervene at any stage of this debate, for the simple reason that I gave very full expression to whatever I felt yesterday during the discussion in the General Committee.
I have heard most of those views repeated today, over and over again, and I feel that I was not in bad company yesterday.
However, I now feel a bit mystified, and I am seeking some light from you, Mr. President. Exactly what is it that we are expected to do now? You stated at the beginning, and you have repeated several times, that the function of today's meeting of the Assembly is to accept or reject the recommendation of the General Committee. Part 1 has already been accepted.
We come now to item 2. Is the position today that we either accept or reject it? If that is so, then it will be very difficult for many of us, who would like to steer a middle course and create a better situation to follow the course which appears to be almost set out for us. Supposing I feel I can neither reject nor accept it as it is, what is the course for me? Can I accept an amendment? Will you accept an amendment? If not, do you realize you put me on the horns of a dilemma? Ultimately, the only course left to me will be to reject the recommendation of the General Committee because, to my mind, the acceptance of the recommendation of the General Committee will bar completely the discussion of the subject matter of paragraph 2 when we take it up later on. We will have before us nothing else but paragraph 1. If anyone should say, "What about the termination of the mandate?" most probably we will hear that the subject is not relevant to the issue before us.
Now, if that is the situation, I most definitely and positively give notice that I shall have to vote in the manner which I think will be in the best interests of justice.
In the meantime, I request you to let us know exactly where we stand. I request you to tell us now whether, by accepting this item of the agenda as it stands on the paper, we shall still be within our rights later on--when I say "we", I mean any one of us--to raise this question before the Political and Security Committee and again before the General Assembly, if necessary. If that is the situation, perhaps it will be possible for me--and for many of us--to make up my mind about it. Otherwise I feel the matter appears to be of an extremely delicate nature; and before I say anything else, I would request you, Mr. President, to be so kind as to elucidate this little point.
RESIDENT: The Chairmen of the various committees know how hard we tried to settle this matter by an agreement in the General Committee. I, as Chairman of the General Committee, offered a suggestion which, I am unhappy to say, did not obtain the backing of all parties and was rejected. Because of this position taken by the General Committee, these items were recommended to the General Assembly.
The position of the President now is this: If an amendment is offered--and an amendment is just a change of complexion and not a change of the matter under discussion--I will consider it. If a substitute proposal is offered, I will consider it. But I have nothing. I have no amendment, no proposal. What are the representatives talking about? I am sure the eminent jurist, the Indian representative, knows what is meant when I refer to
, a term which scholars use when they want to refer to people who are talking too much about nothing.
SAF ALI (India): I am deeply grateful to you for having given expression to your views about the general course of the debate. However, I am extremely sorry to say that in spite of the great compliment you have paid me of being a jurist--and an eminent jurist at that--I feel I am rather dense. I have not yet quite been guided into the path of light.
I want to know in two words whether, after having accepted this item, it will be open to me later on to raise this question in the Political and Security Committee and in the General Assembly. Yes or no is all that I want.
RESIDENT: My knowledge of English is very limited. I am often misled when expressing my own thoughts or in guessing those of other people.
As President, I can assure you that while I am in my position, I shall allow the most free and broad consideration of all matters referring to Palestine, including the matter now under consideration. That was my point of view from the beginning and I hope it will be until the end of the session. I think I have replied to your question.
SAF ALI (India): I am very grateful now. I feel satisfied that, in any case, by allowing this second recommendation to stand on the agenda in its present form, we shall be fully within our rights so long as you are in the Chair. I hope that also applies to our Acting President. We shall be certainly within our rights to raise this question over and over again if we feel we ought to do so. Now, we can vote whichever way we like.
ODGSON (Australia): I wish to speak on a point of order.
Mr. President, I regret that you were not here this afternoon when I made my speech, because I prophesied then that you would get into difficulties through a ruling which you gave twice this afternoon and which you have now repeated.
The point of order is this: If this vote is taken, as you intend it to be taken, on the second paragraph of the report of the General Committee, we will be left solely with paragraph 1. Paragraph 1 deals solely with the creation of a special committee and its terms of reference--and nothing else. And that will be the agenda. With due respect, I submit that if that is the decision of this Assembly, you cannot rule otherwise.
In other words, if your ruling is correct, there is no need to take a vote on paragraph 2, because what you say in effect means that paragraph 2 can be discussed fully under paragraph 1. Therefore, there is no reason for the vote, and I quite agree with the question raised by the representative of India--and he put it very correctly--if we approve, as I see it, of paragraph 2, paragraph 1 alone stands and paragraph 2 will be completely eliminated by your ruling. You will be very strict in your ruling, because otherwise you will completely abdicate your rights as President under rule 66, which says that you can call a speaker to order if his remarks are not relevant to the subject under discussion, and the subject under discussion will be paragraph 1--the creation of the committee and its terms of reference only.
RESIDENT: I have to reply to the representative of Australia by repeating the reply given to the representative of India. I feel that I can give one reply now to both representatives.
I now call on the representative of Afghanistan.
The representative of Afghanistan did not come to the rostrum.
RESIDENT: I call on the representative of the United States.
USTIN (United States of America): The parliamentary situation, as I see it, is determined by the paper which we have on our desks. That is the report of the General Committee.
We have considered half of it, and the further business of the General Assembly, at this point, is nothing else than to consider the remainder of it. It is a very simple question and our President has at three different times made that clear by his ruling. No motion has been made, and the question that is presented to us has repeatedly been stated to be the question whether we accept the balance of the report.
Now what will be the effect of that transaction if we accept it? There will be only one matter before the General Assembly, and that is item 1, which provides for the appointment of a special committee and for setting up its terms of reference, through the medium of the First Committee. The First Committee consists of all and the same members as this General Assembly. Therefore, whatever is transacted in that Committee will be considered by, and participated in by all of us, just as we are.
It was stated several times, in the General Committee--and I now repeat it here in the interest of clear understanding of the situation--that what we do in the General Committee does not limit in any way and does not exclude any subject in the terms of reference of the special committee. I should judge that there would be unanimous agreement in the First Committee that the special committee should have, as a part of its terms of reference, the question of self-government or independence for Palestine as one of the solutions to be considered.
That special committee, of course, would apply itself to inquiry into the question of whether that type of solution is preferable to some other type. But without doubt, if any substantial evidence appeared in that committee favouring the idea of self-government or independence of some kind, either immediately or conditionally, according to the status of the situation as it develops, and according to the wishes of the people suitably expressed, then that would be a possibility as a solution for the problem that confronts the General Assembly.
The General Assembly could not, of course, set up the independence of Palestine or make any final conclusion, but it could make a recommendation that would have great moral power. As I see it, we are not in confusion at all. We may seem to be confused about this matter, but the question as it is presented here now is: Do we agree upon the report of this Committee? If a majority of this General Assembly assents to item 2 of this report, that ends our business for the time being, and the First Committee will become possessed of the problem that is contained in item 1, which will be the sole item left for consideration, and this subject of independence will be one of the subjects that necessarily will be considered by the special committee, and of course there will be a full-dress discussion of the terms of reference of that special committee, a complete discussion in the First Committee, consisting of all and the same members who are Members of the General Assembly.
RESIDENT: There are no more speakers on my list.
We will proceed to the roll-call. I will instruct the Assembly on how to vote. Those in favour of the inclusion of the item on the supplementary list entitled "The termination of the mandate over Palestine and the declaration of its independence" in the agenda of the General Assembly will say "Yes"; and those who are against the inclusion of this item in the agenda will say "No".
Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Union of South Africa
United States of America
RESIDENT: The result communicated to me by the Secretariat is 15 votes for, 24 against, with 10 abstentions.
The item is rejected because it has not received a two-thirds vote in accordance with our rule.
As a result of the vote that we have taken, the Assembly has now adopted the following agenda:
"Item 1. Constituting and instructing a special committee to prepare for the consideration of the question of Palestine at the second regular session".
The result of the approval of the provisional agenda is its reference to the First Committee.
If there is no objection, the General Committee will convene tomorrow at 11 a.m., and the General Assembly will convene tomorrow at 3 p.m.
The meeting rose at 7.30 p.m.
/ The representative of Syria was quoting the verbatim report of the 28th meeting of the General Committee; the official text may be found in the
Official Records of the First Special Session of the General Assembly,
/ The representative of Egypt was quoting the verbatim report of the 70th plenary meeting of the General Assembly; the official text may be found on page .
/ he representative of Egypt was quoting the verbatim report of the 29th meeting of the General Committee; the official text may be found in the
Official Records of the First Special Session of the General Assembly,
/ See the seventieth plenary meeting, page 22.
/ See page 42.
United Nations Preparatory Commission, Committee 1: Summary record of meetings,
., page 16.
., page 11.
/ See seventeenth plenary meeting, page 21.
/ See the seventieth plenary meeting, page 28.
Official Records of the First Special Session of the General Assembly,
Volume II, thirtieth meeting.